Poetry Poetry Friday

[Poetry Friday]: Canal Children

poetry friday

Iphigene here!

I’ve just come back from a stressful week. I spent a week in Singapore for the AFCC 2017 (will be blogging about that soon) and a 5-day creative writing workshop I conducted for some kids in the province. In that workshop we did a poetry exercise wherein the kids were to pick a card from two piles. In one pile were cards with names of objects on them and in the other pile were cards with a word in it.  The kids asked me if I could do the same, so they gave me “Canal” as my object word and “Hope” as my random word and from those words I came up with the poem Canal Children.

Before I share my poem, should you want to read more poems go visit Buffy’s Blog.

Sketch by Author

Canal Children

We are the invisible, the unseen

Our flesh greased with grit

Molding into the dirt roads

Of this city scene


We are the hands that shake

The eyes that plead

We are the beggars

You choose to un-see


We are the canal children,

Whose wood patch houses

Float above this filthy stream

Of everlasting stench and hunger


Whispering our empty futures

Digging at our souls

Crushing every piece

Of our elusive hope.

18 comments on “[Poetry Friday]: Canal Children

  1. lindabaie

    Heartbreaking to hear of these children. It is especially poignant that you chose to write in their voices, too, Iphigene. I imagine every country has children who need our help. Your poem reminds me of Katherine Boo’s Beyond The Beautiful Forevers, another group “Whispering . . . empty futures”. Your workshop brought a wonderful poem & sketch!


    • Hi Linda,
      These children litter the busiest streets of my city and it’s hard to look at them. At times I feel helpless about it. I have not heard of Beyond the Beautiful Forevers. Will check that out. Thanks for dropping by.


  2. maryleehahn

    Powerful. Thank you for giving them a voice.


  3. What a powerful, heartbreaking poem. Thank you for helping us to see them clearly


  4. Wow–your poem gives the reader a haunting glimmer of these children. Sounds like you had an amazing experience. And I’m glad the kids encouraged you to write with them!


    • I’m a grateful that readers of this poem is able to get a glimpse of these children who are part of my daily commute.
      Yes, i try to make sure that when i ask my kids to do tasks that i too sort of join in. 🙂


  5. Wow, haunting drawing and poem. Sounds like a life changing week.


  6. Another Wow! The poem and the drawing describe what sad lives these children have and you brought voice to their plight.


    • I am glad to be able to, even with this little poem bring them to the surface. As i said in response to other comments I thank the muses, the moment i was given the words canal and hope the canal children came to life.


  7. What an incredible time you must’ve had – can’t wait to hear more about the conference! Deeply moving words, and imagery to match.


    • I feel guilty that its taking me a while to write about the AFCC, but I’m definitely going to blog about it. The sessions were just moving.
      Thank you, the muses were kind that day and I suppose this poem needed a writer and it found me. 🙂


  8. Wow. What a haunting image this creates in my head. Powerful and moving.


  9. Thank you for making the invisible, visible, Iphigene.


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